Everything from:heaven in alberta

Recurring subjects in the works of John Irving

Working in the head office of a bookstore chain, I have a lot of literary conversations with my colleagues.  We talk about books in many ways, from the clinical business viewpoint (copies sold and margin earned), to the completely personal viewpoint (romantic heroes, childhood dreams), to the sociopolitical viewpoint (ideas that have changed society). Yesterday we were trying to talk about John Irving, except none of us had read his backlist very recently.  Was Cider House Rules the one about abortion?  Wasn’t there some horrible accident in The World According to Garp? Wikipedia to the rescue.  The helpful chart of John Irving’s recurring subjects made my day.  Deadly accident, sex workers, New England, wrestling, Vienna, bears! Someday, my friends, someone who loves me will make such a chart about my work, and I’ll finally get to see what the hell I’ve been doing all this time. There are a few I can check already: magicians and their mentors, queer protagonists, bees/wasps, upstate New York, boxing, characters with drinking problems.  But I’ll bet there’s something I’ve missed entirely that will be hilariously obvious once it is pointed out. And all this ignores the question of why.  Some of it is fairly […]

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Where they’ve got all hell for a basement

I’ve been away. Out west, near where I used to work when I was younger. There’s a much longer post I will write about that, later. For now, I’m here to remind myself, and tell you, about the sound of mountains. I spent a day skiing at Sunshine, near Banff. It’s an aptly named resort, high and bright. The season’s ending, the snow is butter-heavy and incredibly fast, and each day the sun steams off a bit more of the base. I followed my husband into one of the back bowls. The run hadn’t been closed yet, but it was posted as an avalanche zone, so we were the only people on it. Away from the hum of the lift motors, alone on the steep, I stopped and stood, and watched my husband carve away. I panted in the thin air. My lungs the only movement in the whole broken vista. No hiss of wind or bird-wing or runners on snow. So I held my breath, and heard perfect silence. […]

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